In the pool, she’s a rose among the thorns

MZOXOLO BUDAZA

Christine’s consistency in the pool saw her becoming the only school pupil in the South African national Olympic qualifying team that will take part in the FINA Olympic Games Qualifying tournament in the Netherlands, later this month.

That didn’t happen by chance. She’s been particularly impressive this year, showing maturity beyond her age.

The 17-year-old kick-started 2016 with a tour to Zimbabwe and her performance saw her qualifying for the world youth championships in New Zealand later this year.

For now, her eyes are firmly set on doing well in the Netherlands and realising her dream of playing at the Olympics.

In her mother Coralie’s words, Christine had her “humble” water polo beginnings at Wynberg Boys’ High School Water polo Academy, back in 2010.

“As the youngest player (12 years old) and the only girl in the team and with much nurturing from coach Bryan Punt, and her strong swimming background, she quickly became the standout player in the team. She was holding her own amongst the boys and qualified to play for Western Province U13A the following year,” said Coralie.

Christine proved to be a trendsetter of note as her positive role and presence in the academy encouraged girls from many different schools to join.

That was just the beginning and the youngster never looked back. Her impressive track record includes making the provincial under-13 side in 2011, and captaining Wynberg Girls High School first team when she was still in Grade 9, in 2013. She then moved to Westerford High School in 2014.

Counting Sarah Harris and Nicola Barrat as her role models, Christine made it clear that water polo is her first love right now, in terms of sport. This, she said, was because, she enjoys every minute of it.

“Water polo is one of the toughest and physically demanding sports and, because of that, I try to be at my best each time I play,” she said.

She said chosing water polo over other sports was not difficult as she used to watch her brother Jonathan, who played provincial water polo.

Christine said she and her teammates – Jemma Denny-Young, Amica Hallendorff, Amy Keevy, Lauren Nixon, Megan Schooling, Caitlin Schreuder and Rebecca Thomas – were ready to make the country proud.

“We know it is not going to be easy out there because we will be competing with some of the best in the world but, having said that, we have prepared well.

We want to go there and be as competitive as possible, and hopefully qualify for the Olympics,” she said.

Coralie described her daughter as a free-spirited child who is dedicated to her sport and hardly goes out to a party.

“She is a very popular girl, who gets all the support she needs from her friends and teachers,” said Coralie.

This month’s FINA Olympic Games Qualifying tournament is self -funded and the costs is R42 000.

Call Coralie Abrahamse on 082 451 2861 or 081 861 6374 regarding any sponsorship for Christine’s trip.

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